Reviewing Louisville's Football History

Reviewing Louisville's Football History


Reviewing Louisville's Football History


By Trey McCurry

Wednesday the ACC announced that Louisville will be joining the conference as a full member.  TCI takes a look at the Cardinal’s football history.




Quick Facts on the Louisville Football Program

Location:               Louisville, KY

Nickname:             Cardinals


First season:          1912

Program Record:    464–438–17 (.514)

Conferences:         1912 – 1962 (Independent); 1963 – 1974 (Missouri Valley); 1975 – 1995 (Independent); 1996 – 2004 (Conference USA); 2005 – Present (Big East)

Championships:     Missouri Valley – 2 (1970, 1972)

Conference USA – 3 (2000, 2001, 2004)

Big East – 2 (2006, 2011)

Stadium:                Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (built in 1998; capacity: 55,000)

Coach:                  Charlie Strong (23-13 in three seasons)


Bowls        7-8-1

1958        Sun                     Drake                    W, 34-20

1970        Pasadena            Long Beach State   T, 24-24

1977        Independence      Louisiana Tech       L, 14-24

1990        Fiesta                  Alabama                W, 34-7

1993        Liberty                Michigan State       W, 18-7

1998        Motor City           Marshall                 L, 29-48

1999        Humanitarian      Boise State            L, 31-34

2000        Liberty                Colorado State       L, 17-22

2001        Liberty                BYU                       W, 28-10

2002        GMAC                  Marshall                 L, 15-38

2003        GMAC                  Miami (OH)            L, 28-49

2004        Liberty                Boise State            W, 44-40

2005        Gator                  Virginia Tech          L, 24-35

2006        Orange                Wake Forest           W, 24-13

2010        Beef O’Brady’s     Southern Miss        W, 31-28

2011        Belk                    NC State                L, 24-31


Records Against Future ACC Opponents

Team               Record    Last Meeting                             First Meeting

Boston College     3-3       1998, Louisville won 52-28          1986

Clemson                          Never Faced

Duke                   1-0       2002, Louisville won 40-3           2002

Florida State       2-12       2002, Louisville won 26-20 (OT)  1952

Georgia Tech                   Never Faced

Miami (FL)          1-9-1      2006, Louisville won 31-7           1933

NC State              3-1       2011, NC State won 31-24           1951

North Carolina     4-3       2012, Louisville won 39-34          1988

Pittsburgh            8-8       2012, Louisville won 45-35          1976

Syracuse              6-6       2012, Syracuse won 45-26           1985

Virginia               1-1       1989, Virginia won 16-15            1988

Virginia Tech       2-5       2006, Virginia Tech won 35-24    1979

Wake Forest        1-0       2007, Louisville won 24-13          2007

*Notre Dame                    Never Faced


Top Rivalries:


Louisville and Kentucky have met 25 times on the gridiron. The teams first played in 1912 with Kentucky dominating the first six meetings between the team from 1912 until 1924, holding Louisville scoreless in all six games. After a 70-year dormancy, former Kentucky player and then Louisville head coach Howard Schnellenberger revived the rivalry in 1994 as the “Governor’s Cup.” Kentucky leads the all-time series 14-11, but Louisville leads 11-8 in Governor’s Cup matchups.


Louisville and Cincinnati have met 52 times on the gridiron. The teams first met in 1929 and the winner is awarded a traveling trophy known as “The Keg of Nails.” The rivals are connected by Interstate 71 and the rivalry has stretched over conference moves from both schools in the past (from the Missouri Valley to Conference USA to the Big East). It is also the oldest rivalry (in terms of games played) for the Cardinals. The “Keg of Nails” is a replica of a keg used to ship nails. The exchange is believed to have been initiated by fraternity chapters on both campuses to signify that the winning players in the game were “tough as nails.” The keg is adorned with logos of both schools and the scores in each game of the series. Louisville currently holds the Keg despite trailing in the all-time series 30-21-1.

Past Stars:

Johnny Unitas

Johnny Unitas, who played at Louisville from 1951-54, is a legend from both his time in Louisville and in the NFL. In his four-year career, Unitas completed 245 passes for 3,139 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson played at Louisville from 1970-72, where he was coached by Lee Corso. During his college career, he was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year selection.

Deion Branch

Deion Branch spent two seasons at Louisville (2000-01). During his time with the Cardinals, he caught 143 passes for 2,204 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was named first-team All-Conference USA both seasons and had a league-high 1,188 receiving yards in 2001.





No. 7 Clemson heads to Carter Finley Stadium on Saturday for its first true road game of the season against North Carolina State. Here are five things to know about the Wolfpack: The offense is (…)

More The Clemson Insider